The deadly coronavirus crisis has set off a furious race against time to develop a vaccine, with progress which seems to be considerably faster than any effort previously on record.
As per WHO database, around 83 companies worldwide are looking to develop a vaccine, while 6 have already advanced to a clinical evaluation trial stage, with the remaining 77 in pre-clinical evaluation stage as of 23 April 2020.
University of Oxford, UK, China’s Beijing Institute of Biological Products/Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, Sinovac, CanSino Biological Inc./Beijing Institute of Biotechnology, US-based Moderna/NIAID, Inovio Pharmaceuticals, have already entered the human trial phase of their vaccines.
A senior official at Drug Controller General of India said that due to the emergency situation arising out of the global health crisis, if any vaccine or drug gets approved by any drug regulatory agency for covid-19 from any country, after ensuring its efficacy and safety, it will be approved through an accelerated mechanism and will waive off clinical trials on Indian population. DGCI so far hasn’t received any such application to conduct clinical trials.
Generally, the time period for developing a vaccine ranges from 10- 15 years. However, it is likely that the coronavirus vaccine will be available in about a year as several firms are joining forces to speed up efforts to develop a vaccine for the deadly disease.
Explaining the reasons so as to why a vaccine for coronavirus may be ready by the beginning of 2021, professionals said that the covid-19 is caused by coronaviruses that are also responsible for other respiratory diseases such as Sars (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and Mers (Middle East respiratory syndrome) and various biopharmaceutical companies had already been working on vaccines for these diseases.
Although a vaccine for coronavirus may be available within a year, scientists cautioned that efficacy and safety issues would remain as continuous mutation of the virus should not be ignored.